Maryland Del. Shelly Hettleman said a man yelled “Heil Hitler!” at her from his car while she was campaigning in Baltimore County on Monday.
Hettleman, a Democrat from Baltimore County, said the incident happened about 7:30 a.m. across from Green Spring Station shopping center. A man stopped his car about five feet away from her, stuck his head out the window and shouted “Heil Hitler! You don't represent us!” along with several expletives, she said.
“He screamed with an anger that was so palpable on a scale of 0 to 100, he started with 100,” she said.
Hettleman, who is Jewish, stood stunned with her husband, Jeff Hettleman, and campaign manager Matt Peterson.
Four Glenelg High School students have been charged with hate crimes after swastikas and racial epithets, including one that police said targeted the central Howard County school’s African-American principal, were found painted on campus sidewalks, outside walls and parking lot at dawn.
“Even in the progressive environment of Baltimore County, this happens,” Peterson said. “Until you experience it yourself, you don’t really realize it’s out there.”
Baltimore County Del. Dana Stein stood campaigning across a busy intersection from Hettleman and told The Sun that he saw and heard someone yelling at her and her husband, but that he could not decipher what was said over the traffic.
Hettleman’s husband wrote about the experience on Facebook.
“The proximity, anger and intensity with which this person yelled at us was scary,” he wrote, adding that it spoke to a political climate where it is “increasingly acceptable to sew division, spew hate or yell at others.”
Hettleman said the driver, who was white and in his 30s or 40s, drove away and didn’t return. She wrote about her experience for the Jewish publication JMore, reported it to the Baltimore Jewish Council and plans to report it to the Baltimore County Police, though she and others were too shocked to take down a license plate number, she said.
Libit pointed to the Anti-Defamation League’s publication this February that reported a 60 percent surge in anti-Semitic incidents in 2017 over 2016, the largest single-year increase on record since the ADL started tracking incident data in the 1970s.
Anti-Jewish incidents reported to police across Maryland have steadily increased since 2015, when 46 incidents were reported to police, according to Maryland State Police “Hate Bias Incident Report” records.
There were 61 reports of anti-Jewish incidents sent to police across Maryland in 2017. That marked an increase of more than 15 percent over the reports sent to police in 2016. The reports reflect all incidents of hate or bias sent to police and do not necessary mean a crime has been committed.
Most of the reports over the last two years involved vandalism of buildings and homes with swastikas.
The Baltimore Sun is partnering with newsrooms around the country in a ProPublica-led project to collect recent and reliable data on hate crimes in the United States. If you have been the victim of a hate crime, please use this form to contribute to this database.